Claude Monet - The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool, Giverny - 1899 Philadelphia Museum of Art

I was honored that the Monet Foundation Giverny used the Santa Classics version of the Japanese Bridge for their holiday card to their sponsors in 2016. The Philadelphia Museum of Art used it for a holiday post in 2017 and got over 10,000 views.

 Monet spent much of the 1890s cultivating a garden, complete with a pond, water lilies and a Japanese footbridge, on his farmhouse property in Giverny. He did it just so he could paint beautiful motifs. This is one of the 18 paintings he did of this view. The Japanese footbridge can be found in museums all over the world. This version was from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Anthony van Dyck – Charles I in Three Positions

Van Dyck, who had been appointed the principal painter of Charles I, was asked to paint the king from three sides. The portrait was sent to the sculptor Bernini in Rome, who had been commissioned by Pope Urban VIII to make a bust of King Charles. The Pope wanted to give the bust to Charles’ catholic Queen Henrietta in an attempt at reconciliation with the Church of England. The final sculpture was a big hit with King and queen, but sadly it was destroyed in the Whitehall Palace fire 1698.

Inspired by: Anthony van Dyck – Charles I in Three Positions

Santa gets a Tattoo

For many years I would dress as Santa and create a photo that I could send to my clients around the holidays. This photo was one of my favorites. The tattoo parlor in Easton, PA was the perfect setting for a Santa photo folly. And no, I do not have Merry Christmas tattooed on my arm. The first Santa was shot in 1982. This one was shot 25 years later.

Santa gets a tattoo

Henry Fuseli – The Nightmare

The Nightmare was likely inspired by an interpretation of dreams based on Germanic folklore, in which demons possessed people who slept alone. In these stories men were visited by horses, and women were ravished by the devil. The woman is surmounted by an incubus; a mythological demon who lies upon sleeping women. It has remained Fuseli's best-known work. With its first exhibition in 1782 at the Royal Academy of London, the image became famous. After that Fuseli painted at least three versions

Inspired by - Henry Fuseli - The Nightmare

Honoré Daumier - The Print Lover

The Print Lover - 1857-60
Petit Palace - Paris

Honore Daumier was a French artist, whose many works offer commentary on social and political life in France in the 19th century. He is best known for his caricatures of people, frequently government officials, which were used to criticize the politics and society. If he was working today he would be one of the major contributors to the New Yorker. He was extremely prolific creating thousands of lithographs, paintings, drawings and sculptures.  There is a similar version of this painting at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - The Large Bathers



Pierre-Auguste Renoir - The Large Bathers - 1884-87
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Although this painting depicts a fleeting moment when one bather playfully threatens to splash a companion, it has a timeless, monumental quality. Renoir in an attempt to reconcile this tradition with modern painting labored over this work for three years, making numerous preparatory drawings for individual figures and at least two full-scale, multifigure drawings. Faced with criticism of his new style after completing The Large Bathers, an exhausted Renoir never again devoted such painstaking effort to a single work. At the end of his life, he was suffering from severe rheumatoid arthritis. He turned once again to the bathers as a subject and painted several versions in a much different style. You can see him painting at home: . A lovely movie about this time in his life is “Renoir” which can also be found on youtube. 


Charles Wilson Peale – Staircase Group

Staircase Group - 1795
Philadelphia Museum of Art

The subjects in this painting are his two sons Raphaelle and Titian (youngest), named after two of his favorite painters. His third son was Rubens. This painting was done in the trompel'oeil fashion. The bottom step is real and the picture frame looks like the frame of the door they are walking through. Peale painted this to put in his new museum for art and Science, the nations first museum. A ticket to that museum is found on the second step in this painting.  The story goes that when George Washington came to see the museum, he was fooled by the painting and bowed to the boys in greeting. Peale also founded the first art school in US, The Pennsylvania Academy. 

Édouard Manet - Le déjeuner sur l'herbe

Le Dejeuner sur L'Herbe 1862-63 Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Le Dejeuner sur L'Herbe 1862-63
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

In English, "The Luncheon on the Grass", originally titled Le Bain (The Bath). In 1863, Manet shocked the French public by exhibiting his Déjeuner sur l'herbe. The shock value of a nude woman casually lunching with two fully dressed men, which was an affront to the propriety of the time, was accentuated by the familiarity of the figures. Manet's wife, Suzanne Leenhoff, and his favorite model, Victorine Meurent, both posed for the nude woman, which has Meurent's face, but Leenhoff's plumper body.  The two men are Manet's brother Gustave Manet and his future brother-in-law, Ferdinand Leenhoff. Manet's refusal to conform to convention and his initiation of a new freedom from traditional subjects and modes of representation - can perhaps be considered as the departure point for Modern Art. The modernist reinvention of pictorial space had begun. To see the original: